Best Day Trips from Lisbon

By Viator, October 2013

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Lisbon is a dream to explore; just hop on Tram 28 or hire an e-bike to scale the city’s seven hills with ease. If time permits, there’s so much to see outside the city as well, from royal palaces to wild coastlines and mysterious standing stones. Guided day trips are the smartest way to explore beyond Lisbon, and come in a variety of combinations and packages to fit individual interests.

Day trips from Lisbon to the UNESCO World Heritage listed town of Sintra kick off with guided tours of its magical palaces. Later, a drive through pine-swathed hills leads to the western edge of Europe at the rugged cliffs of Cabo da Roca – and that’s all before exploring the traditional fishing village of Cascais and driving back to Lisbon along the wild Atlantic coastline.

Within easy reach of Lisbon there’s a cross-section of traditional villages to discover; a tour of fortified Óbidos combines perfectly with lunch in the fishing village of Nazaré, famous for its surfing waves, and guided visits to the UNESCO-listed monasteries at Batalha or Alcobaça and Portugal’s most sacred sight, the Sanctuary of the Virgin Mary at Fátima.

To uncover the story of the mysterious Knights Templar, the Christian militia that played a monumental part in medieval European history, take a guided boat trip to fortified Almourol Castle, sitting high over the banks of the Tagus River. Afterwards visit Constância and the 12th-century Knights Templar strongholds at Tomar and Ourém.

Learn about Portugal’s Neolithic and Roman history on day trips to the standing stones and classical ruins in the ancient city of Évora before heading to the marble-clad medieval royal palaces of Vila Viçosa. Alternatively combine Évora’s ancient culture with wine tasting on the Alentejo uplands, which are rapidly acquiring fame for producing excellent full-bodied red wines.

Another ideal day out for wine buffs is a trip to the mountainous region of Arrábida, south of Lisbon, for a visit to the cellars at Jose Maria da Fonseca followed by a tasting of their famous fortified Moscatel. Take in the walled hilltop castle at Palmela en route and lunch in the pretty fishing village of Sesimbra before stopping off to admire the massive statue of Jesus at the Cristo Rei Sanctuary in Almada.

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